Apis dorsata Fabricius 1793:328
The Giant honeybee is certainly the most spectacular of all four honeybee species: an individual bee of the length of a hornet, living in the open in huge colonies, frequently in exposed position (Fig. 8.1), the motionless bees with spread wings on the surface of the cluster arranged in strict regularity (Fig. 8.2) yet ready at any time to lance fierce mass attacks against a supposed enemy within seconds. While the other species live more or less hidden in cavities or dense bushes, A. dorsata evidently relies on its strength based on a numerous society of large individuals with high defense potential (Seeley et al. 1982). Yet, this “most ferocious stinging insect on earth” (Morse and Laigo 1969) can be conditioned to live close to humans, nesting oh walls of buildings in large towns or on trees in gardens (Lindauer 1956; Morse and Benton 1967; Reddy 1980 b).
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